Tag Archives: APY Lands

To die for country

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In the Australian War Memorial a new exhibit in pride of place takes steps towards a reckoning with Australian colonial history, despite the massage of the message around it, writes KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

The APY saga: Evidence suggests dysfunction

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Records from a special general meeting and an executive meeting note motions to terminate the appointment of the general manager but he’s still there. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Watarru community about 200 km south west of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the APY Lands of South Australia.

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SA Government mum on cattle deals in APY Lands

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Cattle are being agisted on Aboriginal lands in the top end of South Australia, but the SA government will give no information about any involvement of an organisation which it funds. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Dust cloud rolls in over Umawa, the Canberra of the Pit Lands.

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Ancient stories meet government silence in the Lands

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Keeping the traditional law alive while moving his people out of welfare dependency, that’s what Frank Young – lawman, artist and administrative leader – sees as his mission in the sprawling APY lands. He spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA.  FULL STORY »

Desert writing to educate the ‘coast-huggers’

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Remote is a relative term. Remote from where? For many living in so-called remote communities or lands, their place is the centre. KIERAN FINNANE reviews Desert Writing: Stories from country. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal job training scheme in the bush: Governments, bureaucrats, contractors, public money – who gains what? A case study.

We are returning this story to the home page because we have received further government responses – as distinct from answers.

Leaving your home town to learn a trade is a tough call for anyone, even more so if you’re an Aborigine living in a tight-knit remote community: while the bright lights may be alluring, the temptation of booze too often has catastrophic consequences.

Now a Cairns, Darwin and Adelaide based company has developed what may well be the answer: Don’t take the people to the training, take the training to the people. By ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo: Construction industry trainees in the APY lands. FULL STORY »

The way it’s always been and the ways of the future

The old men from Amata stole the show. It wasn’t just their charisma but their focus – the young people of their community –  and their enquiring and imaginative outlook. Frank Young, Hector Burton and Ray Ken spoke to their ideas and work at the Desert Mob symposium on Friday. Willy Kaika and Barney Wangin were present in the auditorium and the men were joined on stage by a collaborator, the much younger installation artist Jonathan Jones, a Wiradjuri man from NSW.

The men are still painting – all of them except Young have work in the Desert Mob exhibition – but they have also turned their attention to teaching their young men to make their traditional weapons, kulata (spears) and spear-throwers.  As they worked they saw “how strong and powerful” the weapons would look in their art work, said Young, director of Tjala Arts and chairman of the community, who translated for the other men. They began to imagine a room in a gallery “full of spears, thousands of spears”.

KIERAN FINNANE reports from Desert Mob, the symposium and the exhibition. 

 

Pictured, from left: Jonathan Jones, Ray Ken, Hector Burton and Frank Young. In the photograph behind them, Willy Kaika (left) with Burton. FULL STORY »

APY lands get income management

The Australian Government will introduce income management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the Top End of South Australia to help families ensure their welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children, according to a media release from Jenny Macklin, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

A similar system operates in the Northern Territory under the Federal Intervention.
“Income management ensures that money is available for life essentials, and provides a tool to stabilise people’s circumstances and ease immediate financial stress,” says the release.
“Consultations in May this year with APY Lands communities clearly showed strong support for income management on the Lands.”

Picture: Minister Macklin in Alice Springs in 2008. FULL STORY »

‘Good men, like the good eagles, bring the meat home’

 

What really got the weavers going was thinking about the nature of eagles, how they care for their families. They were camped not far from Amata, the home community for several of them, in the APY Lands of South Australia’s far north and were working on a commission from Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide.

Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton’s husband would come along to the camp every day and bring the women meat, including the favoured bush turkey. They ate the flesh and used the feathers in their weaving.  Nyurpaya would think her husband was just like an eagle that goes out hunting meat for his whole family.

Hunting is what the eagle does best, he is an expert hunter and great provider – that’s what the women like about eagles, what they admire in them.

“Our good men are just like the good eagles, they bring the meat home.”

Several of the Tjanpi weavers travelled into Alice Springs, to speak at a forum on Monday about experimentation and innovation in desert arts. The presence of a skilled translator, Linda Rive, and the stimulus of a slide show that documented their artists’ camp and the development of the work, allowed them to relate in rich detail their experience of this commission, with the final work currently  showing at Tandanya.

What was particularly compelling was to hear about the thinking behind the work: their woven birds are much more than objects to delight the eye. They draw on the strength of their ancient culture and its lessons for everyday living, perhaps never so poignantly relevant as now.

KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

Pictured, top: Tjanpi weavers from Amata with their finished ‘big birds’, from left Nyurpaya Kaika, Yaritji Young, Paniny Mick (obscured), Ilawanti Ken and Naomi Kantjuriny. • At right: An eagle brings home the meat for its young. Painting by Ilawanti Ken. Photos courtesy Tjanpi Desert Weavers. FULL STORY »

For the leaves of the family tree

If you want an injection of joy and optimism, if you want to see leadership in action, then go see Punu-ngura (From the Trees) at RAFT Artspace.

This is the second exhibition curated by artist Hector Tjupuru Burton to show at RAFT within 12 months. Both have had as their focus the future of the young people growing up in Amata in the APY Lands where the senior Pitjantjatjara man lives. The young people are the leaves of the Anangu family tree and each one is touchingly named in the show’s catalogue.

Frank Young, director of Tjala Arts, chairperson of the Amata community council and an artist himself, explains the Anangu concept of the family tree: “The Ancestors are the roots … us middle ones – the men and women who made these paintings – we are the trunk of the tree. The young fellas and young women, the future of our families are the leaves on the trees, and the leaves that are yet to be seen.”

These canvasses come from accomplished artists, some celebrated, some less well known. The power of their cultural conviction, respect for their Law and connection with family, can be felt in the profuse imagery and effervescent energy of the collaborations, in the brilliantly organised compositions rich in colour, in each spirited stroke of the brush or dotted field.

“With this exhibition we draw a line. We pull back and put a fence around our culture,” says Mr Young.

It’s a manifesto of the highest order.  It also is something of a breakthrough in work by weavers. – KIERAN FINNANE 

 

Pictured: Untitled painting by Barney Wangin.

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